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Knowledge is power for this aspiring First Nations student

man standing in chasm
A Certificate I in Tourism has inspired William Palmer, a proud Arrernte man, to further his studies and see where a career in tourism will take him.

A First Nations student who learnt local knowledge from his grandmother is now sharing it as a tour guide. 

William (Will) Palmer is a proud Arrernte man from Mparntwe Alice Springs. Will has always been passionate about learning and understanding his culture having grown up on his homelands 100 kms west from Alice Springs.  

Growing up On Country provided Will with continuous learning. His grandmother, Raelene Silverton, guided him and passed on local knowledge including the Arrernte language, cultural significant stories and knowledge of Country.

It was his passion for language and culture that landed him his first job as a First Nations Tour guide. Since he has accepted his position Will has completed a Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture) through Charles Darwin University TAFE and believes he has now found his calling. 

“Before starting my role and training, I had little knowledge about tourism. However, I now feel that it is my calling. I genuinely enjoy conducting tours and raising awareness of our culture to visitors in Central Australia,” Will said. 

The tourism industry in the Northern Territory is worth almost $800 million and brings visitors from all over the world, many of whom love to learn more about First Nations history, language and culture. 

This is where Will sees himself thriving as he feels the position suits both his passions and knowledge. 

“Tourism plays a vital role in Central Australia by providing employment and training opportunities for local Indigenous communities. It contributes to economic growth and serves as a platform for sharing our culture with visitors, offering educational experiences, and fostering cultural understanding,” Will said.

The training provided by CDU TAFE has equipped Will to have confidence when guiding a group as well as understanding how to share the knowledge that has been passed down to him. 

“The Certificate has complemented my existing language and cultural knowledge by providing structured training in tour delivery. Additionally, it equipped me with essential skills such as understanding tour structure, customer service, first aid certification, and ensuring visitor safety,” he said. 

And although Will believes he has a long way to go before he can consider himself a role model, he is pursing further education with dreams of providing the same opportunities that he had to others. 

“I am still learning; however my long-term goal is to establish my own tours closer to my family homeland and to inspire and mentor other Indigenous individuals to join the tourism industry.”

Will has just begun his Certificate III in Tourism in hope to make these dreams a reality. 

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